Friday, January 15, 2010


Smoothies are a great healthy way to kick start your metabolism and your day!

We made this smoothie this morning:


  • 4 ounces plain, low-fat soy milk
  • 4 ounces pomegranate juice
  • 4 ounces frozen banana (we used fresh)
  • 4 ounces frozen strawberries
  • 4 ounces frozen blueberries
  • 4 ounces frozen raspberries


Combine the soy milk, juice, banana, strawberries, blueberries, and the raspberries in the carafe of a blender. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 8 hours.

In the morning, or when the fruit is partially thawed, put the carafe on the base of the blender, start at the lowest speed and slowly accelerate to medium, until you achieve a vortex. Blend on medium for 1 minute. Increase the speed to high and blend for an additional minute. Serve immediately.

Tips: We did not leave the fruit overnight to thaw. We simply put it all in the blender when we got up, went and got ready and 30 min. later it was ready to blend and drink before we hit the road to start the day.

Do you have any great smoothie recipes? Let us know!

Shea & Richard

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hail Caesar Salad

Richard and I love Caesar salads. Every restaurant we go to, we have to try their take on the dish. And with a pretty basic lost of ingredients, it's amazing how many different ways there are to prepare it.

Just recently, watching Good Eats, we discovered where the famous salad came from...

Cesar Cardini, an Italian born restaurant owner, tossed the first Caesar salad at his restaurant in Tijuiana on July 4th, 1924. The restaurant had been unusually busy that day and many supplies had run out. According to Cesar's daughter, Rosa, he put the salad together with what was on hand and tossed it table-side to add flair. It caught on. Over the next 20 years, the restaurant, which relocated to L.A. after Prohibition ended, prospered and began bottling and retailing their dressing.

One of our favorite caesar recipes comes from Alton Brown. It contains a light, citrus dressing and homemade croutons.


  • 1 loaf day old Italian bread (of course Richard made his own)
  • 3 garlic cloves, mashed
  • 9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, inner leaves only
  • 7 grinds black pepper
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 6 drops Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut 1/2 to 3/4-inch croutons from the loaf of bread and place on a baking sheet and put into the oven until dry but not browned.

Use a mortar and pestle to mash the garlic with 4 tablespoons of oil and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Strain the oil into a skillet over medium heat. Add the dried croutons and fry, tossing constantly until all of the oil is absorbed and the croutons turn gold. Set aside.

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the eggs and cook for 1 minute. Chill in ice water to halt cooking. Set aside.

In a very large bowl, tear lettuce and toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with the remaining kosher salt and the black pepper. Add the remaining olive oil. Toss well. Add the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Break in the eggs. Toss until a creamy dressing forms. Toss in Parmesan cheese and serve with croutons.

Bon Apetit!


Monday, January 11, 2010

St. Francis

Richard and I had been hearing the hype about this place for months. And after a failed attempt to eat dinner here a few months ago (perhaps if we had actually looked at their website we would have realized that they aren't open on Mondays, but we tend to make last minute decisions in the car) we finally made it.

Dave Rex, the GM and part owner of the venture, has worked for both of us in the past and we were excited to see what was in store knowing his food and design background.

It definitely lived up to our expectations.

We had the forbidden rice bowl (made with black rice, which neither of us had ever tried) mixed with fresh vegetables flown in exclusively from a small farm in California and topped with a light sweet and spicy sauce. The rice was cooked perfectly and the vegetables were fresh and full of flavor. It was a great vegetarian option.

We also tried the roasted pork chop with sweet corn polenta, brussel sprouts and a whole grain mustard sauce. Its availability is limited so get there early and order it before they run out. Between the two of us we could barely finish it, the flavors were so rich and heavy; but we were determined. It was too good to leave any bite un-ravished.

At this point we were sure it couldn't get any better. The pork chop was near perfection and had far exceeded our expectation of this or any restaurant.

But then we had the warm sticky toffee pudding with sweet cream gelato. I'm actually drooling while I'm writing this; it was that good.

My only complaint about it was that I wanted more. More caramel sauce and more gelato. More, more, more. My hips, however, are happy.

The restaurant itself is young. Many things are unfinished and unpolished. But the atmosphere is warm and urban and the food speaks for itself.

It's definitely worth the drive... just don't try and go on a Monday. ;-)


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Almost No Knead Bread.

It's about time we got back into this blogging thing...

This post is inspired by a buddy of mine. The other day he asked me for a good easy bread recipe.

I gave him the recipe that follows... Not only is it it easy, but it yields some of the best tasting bread I have ever made at home. I almost feel like I'm cheating every time I make it.

I would love to take credit for it as my own, but I stole it from Cooks illustrated, who actually stole the idea/methodology for a recipe the New York Times printed a few years back (see link: who in fact took it from this guy Jim Lahey, who kinda revolutionized the way home bakers are baking (takes a breath).

You'll will see what I mean when you make the bread.

A few notes before you begin:

An enameled cast-iron Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid yields best results, but the recipe also works in a regular cast-iron Dutch oven or a heavy stockpot.

They suggest using a mild-flavored lager, such as Budweiser, (I use whatever I have in the fridge, it's never Budweiser, but it always turns out great)

The bread is best eaten the day it is baked but can be wrapped in aluminum foil and stored up to 2 days.

Ok now the recipe.


3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (15 ounces), plus additional for dusting work surface (or like the dough used in these pictures 2 cups AP and 1 cup whole wheat)

1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons table salt

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water (7 ounces), at room temperature

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons mild-flavored lager (3 ounces)

1 tablespoon white vinegar


1. Whisk flour, yeast, and salt in large bowl. Add water, beer, and vinegar. Using rubber spatula, fold mixture, scraping up dry flour from bottom of bowl until shaggy ball forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8 to 18 hours.

(don't over think this first step... don't kneed it at all just mix until it comes together. Also the closer you get to an 18 hour fermentation the better the flavor)

2. Lay 12- by 18-inch sheet of parchment paper inside a 10-inch skillet and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface and knead 10 to 15 times. Shape dough into ball by pulling edges into middle. Transfer dough, seam-side down, to parchment-lined skillet and spray surface of dough with nonstick cooking spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until dough has doubled in size and does not readily spring back when poked with finger (about 2 hours).

3. About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place 6- to 8-quart heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with lid) on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly flour top of dough and, using razor blade or sharp knife, make one 6-inch-long, 1/2-inch-deep slit along top of dough. Carefully remove pot from oven and remove lid. Pick up dough by lifting parchment overhang and lower into pot (let any excess parchment hang over pot edge). Cover pot and place in oven. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to bake until loaf is deep brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 205-210 degrees, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove bread from pot; transfer to wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

I know that the total time it takes from start to finish is long, but the actually time working on the bread is only 10-15 min.

So planning ahead is a necessity- but one that's well worth the wait.

Bon Apetit.